Russia's Maria Sharapova has reached the final of the Australian Open after beating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic with a three-set victory in the semi-final in Melbourne Thursday.

Sharapova, who won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, will now face Victoria Azarenka in the finals Saturday night.

In the first set, Kvitova had appeared tentative, allowing Sharapova to dictate play in the first set before she found her range with her serve in the second set. Sharavpova won the first set by 6-2.

But after the break Kvitova emerged strongly and won the second set by 6-3 after racing to a 3-0 lead.

I felt like in the third set she had the advantage because I was always down on my serve, Sharapova said in a courtside interview.

I thought, you've got to go for it, don't give her the opportunity to finish the points the way she likes to. I got a few returns in and maybe that was the key, said Sharapova.